COVID-19 Updates Regarding Events and Meetings
The following information is based on the October 15 email to presidents of registered student orgs, regarding in-person student organization events and meetings, and is the current guideline to be followed. As we receive updates and clarity about certain activities, we will post information here and email the Presidents and Advisors on record.
What activities are allowed?
Starting Friday, October 16, at noon, registered student organizations may submit an Event Application in OrgSync to request an in-person program. Until further notice, all Event Applications will be reviewed for safety and require approval by a hybrid committee consisting of members of the university’s Student Life Advisory Group and Safety and Incident Management Group (note that this hybrid committee replaces the Event Safety Committee until further notice). As such, all Event Applications must be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the requested reservation date.
In-person programs will be limited to the following conditions:
- The earliest in-person programs may be hosted is Sunday, November 1, to allow time for the committee to review. The last program date for fall is Wednesday, November 25. Because there is a limited window of opportunity and because all Event Applications will be reviewed by the hybrid committee, Student Activities will temporarily remove the requirement that the student org’s President and Advisor approve the Event Application before it is reviewed.
- Programs must be on-campus; off-campus programs are still prohibited because we cannot ensure proper safety protocols are monitored and enforced. At this time, fraternities and sororities cannot host meetings or events in their houses.
- Locations will be limited to the University Union, Gateway Center, and Rec Center, where staff can monitor safety protocols and ensure proper cleaning in between programs. As spaces are limited, student orgs will not be able to choose their program location; if approved, a space will be assigned based on the program needs described in the Event Application.
- Programs must follow current CDC and campus guidelines, as well as Executive Orders, including a limit of 10 participants, use of face coverings, social distancing, etc.
- Regarding the 10-participant limit, that is in total (over the course of the program duration); participants cannot rotate in and out or stagger attendance to maintain a 10 person-in-the-room limit. While this is a small number, note that most of the available spaces in the Union can create hybrid (part in-person, part virtual) program participation, and student orgs may request that in the Event Application.
- Only students and employees may attend student org programs; no off-campus/outside visitors, including guest speakers and vendors, are allowed.
- Absolutely no food or drink will be allowed.
As a way to maximize a limited amount of space, reserving entities will use block reservations for all student org requests. Reservations, inclusive of set up, event/meeting, and break down, will be limited to 90 minutes, after which there will be a 30-minute window to clean the room prior to the next reservation. Thus, the student org may not arrive prior to the assigned start time and must leave by the assigned end time.
At this time, room set-up options will be limited to classroom style, conference style, or open (no furniture). Student orgs cannot move any furniture/equipment in the room.
Understanding space is limited, student orgs may not request series/recurring reservations. In addition, each student org may have only one open reservation at a time. Once an approved program has concluded, at that time the student org may submit an Event Application to request another program.
Our program was approved. Now what?
After Event Application approval, Student Activities will send additional safety information and directives to the Event Contact, president, and advisor. Organizations that fail to comply with university directives, including safety protocols, will be referred to the Dean of Students office.
Each student org program will have a Safety Monitor (i.e., the Event Contact listed in the Event Application), who must be present at the program. It is the responsibility of the Safety Monitor to understand and coordinate the adherence to all directives and other meeting/event-specific requirements. It is the student org’s responsibility for enforcing directives, including the 10-person meeting limit, social distancing, and wearing face coverings, for the duration of the program.
Student orgs should ask in-person attendees to perform a self-assessment (via the self-monitoring form) prior to arrival and ask those who show symptoms or don’t feel well to stay home. Student orgs are required to take attendance (name, phone number, and email only) at the event/meeting and keep the records for at least 4 weeks, submitting them to the Contact Tracing Team upon request.
When possible, student orgs should provide a virtual or other in-person participation option to accommodate, for example, prospective attendees who have pre-existing health conditions and/or are immunocompromised. If a student requests any type of accommodation for a meeting/event on campus, student organizations shall contact Student Activities for assistance.
What activities are not allowed?
With the exception of those listed above, student organizations are not being approved to host in-person events or meetings (whether indoors or outdoors) on- or off-campus*. This includes:
- Solicitation (commonly known as "tabling"), due to the transactional nature of the activity and inability to socially distance.
- Restaurant give-backs/fundraisers, if (a) it is an expectation of the restaurant or student org that org members be present, OR (b) if it is dine-in. If student orgs are encouraging members and non-members to dine-in, the activity is not allowed. This activity is allowed as long as the restaurant does not require an organizational presence at the restaurant AND if the student org promotes the fundraiser as a delivery/take-out option only.
- Blood drives, if it is an expectation of the blood center or student org that student org members be present. This activity is allowed as long as the blood center does not require an organizational presence during the blood drive. A student org can certainly promote a blood drive happening in the community (not connected to the student org) and encourage people to donate blood.
- Volunteering with community organizations/partners as a student org (i.e., the student org coordinating a group of members to volunteer together with a community organization/partner). Student orgs can advertise individual service opportunities to members, who may choose to sign up to volunteer on their own.
If you are unsure whether an activity that your student org would like to host could violate university directives or policy, please ask well in advance of your proposed date.
When student org activities are brought to Student Activities' or Dean of Students' attention, we look into each situation, taking into consideration university policies/directives, which may include UNT's free speech policy, and state and federal law/executive orders. If you see something you believe violates the UNT Code of Student Conduct, please submit it and the Dean of Students' office will review it. If it is determined that a student organization is not following these directives, the student organization and involved students can and will be held accountable for violating the UNT Code of Student Conduct, which is applicable both on- and off-campus.
*Note for religious student orgs only: Per Governor Abbott’s executive orders, religious student orgs may hold religious services (including Bible studies and like activities) in-person, off-campus. We encourage these student organizations to conduct their activities virtually while the governor’s orders are in effect, but when religious student organizations choose to meet in-person for religious services, we strongly encourage attendees to comply with the Governor’s and public health officials’ guidance to wear masks and maintain social distance in an effort to keep our community healthy and safe.
What are the options regarding virtual activities?
In the meantime, Student Activities encourages student orgs to host virtual activities via Zoom, Teams, or the platform of your choice. As students, you have access to utilize both Zoom meetings and Teams for free. Need some help with working breakout rooms, preventing Zoombombing, optimizing for music/singing, etc.? Check out these Zoom tips and other Virtual Resources/Activities.
Student Activities can help promote virtual events and meetings for registered student orgs, so please consider submitting an Event Application for them in OrgSync. Additionally, feel free to tag Student Activities on social media, @UNTActivities, and we will do our best to promote as many virtual activities as we can.